At Long Last! Disney Orders New Ships

February 22, 2007

One of the industry's longest running rumors -- Disney's plans to expand its fleet -- finally comes to fruition today as the company announced it would build two new vessels. The ships, as yet unnamed, will be constructed at Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard. Sizewise, they'll be considerably larger than the 83,000-ton, 1,760-passenger Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. They'll be two decks higher and, in fact, these new ships will measure 122,000 tons and carry 2,500 passengers, double occupancy. Considering though that because Disney's load factor is a highest-in-the-industry 150 percent (remember: all those kids), the typical passenger count onboard will be in the range of 3,750. Currently, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder can carry a full capacity of 2,400.

Those ships, which were introduced in 1998 and 1999 respectively, have been followed by a long drought -- even as other cruise lines targeting the family market, such as Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, have been on building sprees.

The new vessels will be introduced in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Few details have emerged aside from the fact that these new ships will be similar in theme to the existing vessels, evoking design of classic, 1930's ocean liners. They'll have the same color palette as Mickey Mouse, and it's anticipated that they'll be as elegant in ambience as the existing twins.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor